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Harness the power of word-of-mouth

Tips on leveraging one of the least expensive marketing strategies
By Mari-An Santos |

If you have hurdled the initial challenges of setting up the business--raising capital, knowing your target market, and coming up with the initial stocks of your products--you are perhaps only halfway through the startup process. Those stocks will remain on the shelves unless you find a way to direct customers to your business.

But if you\\\'re starting small, understandably, you cannot afford to spend so much on advertising. Thankfully, you can rely on word-of-mouth marketing which requires minimal spending on your part.


What is word-of-mouth?
"Word-of-mouth marketing is simply people telling other people about a product resulting in a snowball effect. People tend to be excited or very disappointed to tell others about a product. Usually if a product is of very good quality and different, people will want to share to others about their discovery. On the other hand, if people have a very bad experience about a product they will also want to share their disappointment with others so they don\\\'t suffer the same fate," says Vencer Viray of Alice Blue Candle.  


Alice Blue Candle is a good example of a business that took off thanks to word-of-mouth marketing. Partners Vencer Viray and Tisha Namin-Gonzalez started their hand-poured soy wax candle business in May, 2005. What started out as a kiosk catering to expats that frequent the American Women\\\'s Club of the Philippines (AWCP) Bazaar, now has branches in Glorietta 3, TriNoMa, and The Podium.

"We have really benefited from the word-of-mouth promotion from customers that have bought our products. Our customers seemed to be genuinely excited to discover the quality of our products enough to want to recommend to friends and relatives," Viray says.

A very important consideration in word-of-mouth promotion is the exemplary impression you make on customers. Once they are happy with your product or service, they can\\\'t help but tell other people about it. "People tend to buy products that other people they trust have endorsed," adds Viray. Alice Blue Candle is now a fixture at the AWCP Bazaar, and maintains a website through which buyers may browse the range of products and also order.  


"We have not done any paid advertising for our products.  We have relied on word-of-mouth advertising to promote our products.  We are in the belief that the best form of advertising is not from paid ads but from satisfied customers."

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